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Monday, August 29, 2016

Serendipity


One of my great good fortunes this summer was to host not one, but two community theatre directors, one from BC and the other from Ontario.

Brain picking ensued.

One of my life long dreams is to have another community theatre.

Another you say?

Well yes. I started my own community theatre in my neighbourhood when I was 8 years old. And I have a picture to prove it. Of the entire cast. I was director, writer, lead actor, props manager and stage manager. What's that you say? Ego? I didn't know better. It was all about me and I absolutely loved it. And thought at the time: I could spend my life doing this. I do have to find the photo and post it here.

So now, I'm trying to do the exact same thing in my neighbourhood here. I got brilliant suggestions from my guests and I'd absolutely love to make this a go. I tried several years back with no success as the team evaporated to other projects.

But this time? I have hope. I am invigorated. Re-vitalized with all the challenges of the past couple of years firmly behind me. A rebirth and renewal of spirit it seems.

So few years left. So much delightful stuff to do.

Life comes full circle.

This time I'll share.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Another Quarter Heard From


Present: Me (M) and two Australian PGs* (APG) both academics on a three month leave - mandatory after 10 years' employment with one employer in Australia.

APG: What do you think of the current political climate in the USA?

M: Pretty scary.

APG: Yeah, especially with that billionaire Clinton woman.

M: What about Trump?

APG: Well, after Sanders dropped out he's the far better choice.

M (aghast): Why do you say that?

APG: He's a businessman. The USA needs to be run like a business.

M: He's a failed businessman. Every business he has been involved with has bankrupted. He's been sued.....

APG: Oh come on, most businessmen have failures, that's how they become successes. They learn from their mistakes!

M: But what about the people who have invested in his companies, their shares are worthless!

APG: That's real life. Some you win, some you lose.

M: So if he fails the USian people, and I can't count the number of ways this could happen, it would be an experiment?

APG: Of course. You don't want another corrupt Clinton running the country for her own personal gain.

I backed away with my hands up and didn't touch on Drumpf's comments on racism, immigration, privilege, creepiness (i.e desiring his daughters, et al)and mockery of those less fortunate.

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*Paying guests

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Tricks


It's not the years in your life.

It's the life in your years.

So the old clichés go, and there are many more, each yawn worthy.

I'm not one who plays all coy about my age, that would be to dishonour all those who weren't so lucky as to be still on this side of the daisies. And seriously what is all this age denial about? Pretending to be young? To be flattered when someone says you don't look sixty, or seventy or eighty? And "94 years young"? As if being an elder is a crime against humanity.

I'm an old woman, well seasoned, well historied, well lived. No apologies. And lucky enough that none of my cells (yet) have gone postal on me.

What a gift that is. To be an old woman.

Crotchety at times (I have to watch that, it's not very attractive - to me)but I'm basically a well intentioned person. I've rooted out the negatives in my life, removed myself from old dramas, old dynamics and hostilities. And feel all the better for it.

Peaceful.

Daughter had a lovely birthday luncheon for me. She's one of those who sets a very nice table. She comes from a long maternal line of great table setters. We're weak on the housework and hope that our lovely tables deflect any interest in the lack of dusting.

I had a long conversation with Grandgirl, we compared notes on Italy as she's back from another visit. Entranced with the muted colours as I was when I was her age and exploring it for the first time.

And new tricks. I'm working on these. Every birthday I try and plan something new for the coming year. A new skill, a new place to visit, a new interest, a new friend, a new club.

It's not happiness I've ever been after.

It's contentment.

And I do believe I'm almost there.



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Privilege

We take so much for granted don't we? At least I do. But now and again, more often than not, I become aware of how privileged I am. How good my life is. How I have opportunities to re-invent myself. How many lives I've lived. Opportunities and chances taken. Friendships solidified. Good health rescued.

I've visited my young friend twice now. She's still sober but needed help with other issues. So she went off for 28 days to learn about self-esteem and setting boundaries, and acceptance of herself.

And I get to see her companions in the treatment centre. All ages. All conditions, all stages of recovery. And my heart swells with love for them and for her. And I hope with all my heart that life will improve for them. That they will embrace this opportunity, this brand new life force and hold it tight so they don't drown.

And then feel privileged in turn. As I do, for being reborn as it were.

We go out for dinner, my wee friend and I. And she is full of hope and plans and nearly 4 months sober. I haul her back into the moment and talk expectations and ask her again, as I do every time I see her: "What's the most important thing in your life?" And her answer is uncertainty and contingent on others.

And I think: one of these days....

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tender Moments

They're better when you don't expect them, aren't they?


I had this email from an ex today that brought soft tears to my eyes. He's not a writer by any means. And I do think he struggled with his words. My birthday is this Tuesday and he remembered it obviously but forgot the much clichéd "Happy Birthday" and just brought up some random memories about how long we've known each other (since high school). Nearly 60 years. What a privilege, that, to know someone nearly 60 years. And share children and miscarriages, a failed adoption and a beloved grandchild.

He wrote of our emigration, our expectations then and what an adventure it was.

And he closed with a beautiful, heartfelt phrase which I'll keep private.

And I thought of our voyage and wrote back to him of this, of all our dearies on that small tender pulling away from that vast ocean liner that held our incredibly young hopeful selves leaving all we had ever known behind. Forever.

And the Irish coastline fading away in the distance as we turned and faced the new land of Canada.

Good tears.

Good love.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Count Me In


"New (2014) Statistics Canada data shows that 12 percent of seniors live in poverty, amounting to almost 600,000 people. Seniors living alone are particularly hard pressed financially, with more than 1 in 4 single seniors, most of whom are women, living in poverty."

Read more here.

Yeah, old single women take it on the chin, or in the stomach or in the roof.

I was asked how old I was today. The person was horrified I was still working at hosting a B&B at my age.

"Why?" he asked, puzzled.

"Why do you think?" I responded.

"Well, it's very hard work, cooking cleaning, bed-making, welcoming guests, chatting with them, concierging. All by yourself. I honestly don't know why you do it."

I laughed. "I love luxuries: Gas in my car. No transit out here so I need a car for medical trips, hospital trips, fresh produce when I can afford it. The list is endless. I cut off my landline to save $35 a month, that's a tank of gas..."

"You're poor?"

"Living well below the poverty line, my friend, like most women of my age. If there was an easier way to make a living I would do so. But there isn't."

"My gawd, I'd no idea."

"I know. Most don't. But I'm happy. I'll keep on keeping on. I'm so very lucky, for many aren't and fall right through the cracks."

Friday, August 05, 2016

King of the Broadcasters


Sometimes it's triply hard to make a living. Make that to the power of 1,000. 99% of the time my PGs (tourists) are wonderful, kind, aware, interesting and interested.

But the odd time, the very odd time, I realize I'm making barely 50c an hour for the time they suck out of me like this guy(TG)! TG booked in for 3 days and nights.

I am captive to his enchantment with his own company and his interesting self. He's a non-stop broadcaster. A braggadocio of the first order. From his family pictures lining the walls of some distant legislature to how wonderful a husband/father/son/advocate he's been since he was born. One night I had to leave my own house and go to the graveyard to commune with dead strangers as he had finally trampled all over my last remaining nerve ending.

I had to leave him in mid-flow in my living room last night when I felt a scream rush to my throat and only by a sheer act of will could I squelch it by running upstairs.

This morning, as he entered the dining room he started up again about me being his escort to his son's wedding (kill me now!) and then launched into how the Cree Nation honours him for all his work in the Cree Tribe. His solution (which is hugely successful, he remarked in passing) to tribal alcoholism: "Give the natives proper suits and employ them all in First Nations casinos and give them credit cards and then bingo! they'll have purchasing power and a fancy car. They'll stop drinking!" Can you count all the wrongs in that statement? Boy, I'd love to find me some Cree elders and have a chat about sainted TG and his final solution.

So I stood, pushed my chair in, went to the kitchen, cleaned up, then said abruptly as the verbal diarrhea poured all around me: "Look, I've work to do, phone calls to make, I'm going to my office now and need privacy."

He says, I kid you not: "Ah, don't leave me, I love our little chats, oh come on!".

I made it and closed the door with a firm thunk and leaned against it gnawing my own fist.

He leaves tomorrow morning.